By Keith O. Frame, CPA

Most people have now heard that Michigan’s personal property tax laws have been substantially changed in that they are being phased out for many taxpayers and provide an exemption for small taxpayers (those with taxable value of property less than $80,000). What many people are not aware of is it is your responsibility to claim the small taxpayer personal property tax exemption if you qualify for it. Nobody in government is watching out for you.

The scenario plays out as follows: Local assessors mail Form 632 – Personal Property Tax Statement and Form 5076 – Affidavit to Claim Small Business Tax Exemption Under MCL 211.9(o) to businesses in the  taxing jurisdiction in early January. Taxpayers must file one of these forms. Filing Form 632 results in a  calculation of tax based on the tax rates and the depreciated value of your property and equipment.

Filing Form 5076 results in the taxpayer being exempt. You are not exempt because you qualify for it – YOU ARE EXEMPT ONLY IF THE ASSESSOR RECEIVES THIS SIGNED FORM BEFORE FEBRUARY 10, 2016.

We discovered last year, to our dismay, assessors would provide absolutely no leeway to taxpayers on this issue. If you were exempt, and didn’t file the form on time, you were out of luck. Assessors are happy to estimate a tax on partial information, but they apparently won’t grant even an obvious exemption.

The lesson here is make sure to file Form 5076 – Affidavit to Claim Small Business Exemption Under MCL
211.9(o) on time! And you may even want to send it certified mail.